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Portland university selects Front Street property for Boise law school

Concordia University announced an initial agreement to purchase property at 501 Front Street in Boise for its planned law school, set to open in 2011.

“We’re delighted about the prospect of settling the Concordia University School of Law in the heart of Boise, within close proximity of the courts, state and local governments and law firms,” said Concordia University President Chuck Schlimpert in a news release. “With our emphasis on community service and engagement, we look forward to contributing a wealth of new resources and talent to Boise’s downtown core and to the state as a whole.”

The university says it evaluated approximately 40 potential sites during the past year before deciding on the Front Street location. The purchase is expected to close by April 2010, following a period of due diligence. Colliers International is the real estate broker on the transaction.

Cathy Silak, former Idaho Supreme Court justice, has been named as dean of the new law school. The dean’s Advisory Council is chaired by Richard Fields, a partner at Moffatt Thomas Barrett Rock & Fields, and includes 26 local and regional, business and civic leaders.

“This site is a win-win for the City of Boise and the university, and we look forward to close collaboration with the city during planning and development of the property,” Silak said in the news release.

The current Front Street property is a two-story brick building with approximately 17,000 square feet. Concordia will use the existing structure but also plans to develop an additional 30,000 square feet of space to meet the law school’s need for classrooms, offices and amenities. Union Corner Construction, the general contractor, plans to source all jobs and subcontractors from the local Boise area.

The University of Idaho College of Law, based in Moscow, has been seeking to open a second branch in Boise, but its initial plans to do so were rejected by the Idaho State Board of Education in 2008. The college is now moving ahead with a more modest Boise expansion – from a semester-in-practice to a full third-year program, which it plans to launch in fall 2010.

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